Character Animation in Maya

Learn to use Maya's powerful animation tools to bring 3D characters to life with movement and personality.

Before you animate the characters and objects in your scene, set up the scene by rigging all your characters and by applying the appropriate constraints and deformers to all the objects you want to animate.

Rigging a character, also known as character setup, involves creating skeletons and IK handles for your characters, binding skins to the skeletons, and setting up deformers and constraints. You can also create deformers for your character and animate them to produce effects; for example, the jiggling belly (jiggle deformer), furrowing brow (wire deformer), and flexing biceps (lattice deformer) of a sumo wrestler model.

Non-character objects are also very important to bringing your scene to life. You can limit and control the transformations of objects by constraining them to characters or other models in your scene. You can also create deformers for objects to create complex deformation effects. For example, you can apply a squash deformer to the model of a ball and then parent constrain the ball to the hands of a character. With this setup, you can key the weights of the character’s hands and the squash deformer’s attributes to create an animation of the character bouncing the ball from hand to hand while the ball squashes on the ground and stretches as it rises back into the air.

In addition to setting up characters and objects for animation, you can set up Maya® Dynamics for animation. You can constrain dynamic objects such as particle emitters, fields, and fluids to objects or characters in your scene. For more information, see nDynamics Simulation Framework and Fluid Effects.

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